Peer learning leaders: developing employability through facilitating the learning of other students


  • Neil Ford Bournemouth University
  • Charlotte Thackeray Bournemouth University
  • Paul Barnes Bournemouth University
  • Katharina Hendrickx Bournemouth University



Peer Assisted Learning, PAL, employability, graduate attributes, graduate identity, confidence.


Employability is a key theme in higher education and attitudes towards its development have shifted from a focus on technical skills development to a broader focus on values, intellect, social engagement and performance contributing to graduate identity (Hager and Hodkinson, 2009). Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) and Language Conversation Clubs are both examples of student-led peer learning schemes at Bournemouth University (BU), and are reviewed to explore the development of students employed to lead and facilitate group learning sessions. Data from four annual evaluation surveys (n=239) is reviewed in addition to qualitative comments and reflective writing. Peer leaders were found to have developed employability attributes including: leadership, time management and organisation, communication, and cultural awareness. Above all, peer leaders identified with developing confidence in their roles. Comments provided examples of student leaders who had actively selected peer learning as an opportunity to develop their confidence and were able to transfer this to other academic and employment contexts.

Author Biographies

Neil Ford, Bournemouth University

Neil Ford is Academic Liaison Development Manager in Library and Learning Support at Bournemouth University and coordinates their Peer Assisted Learning programme. Neil has developed a number of student co-creation projects and is interested in working with students as partners in learning.

Charlotte Thackeray, Bournemouth University

Charlotte Thackeray is Peer Learning Officer at Bournemouth University and centrally supports over 300 Leaders and 50 academics at the institution. She shares good practice with other institutions in the UK and develops excellent peer learning opportunities at BU.

Paul Barnes, Bournemouth University

Paul Barnes is Language Learning Manager and EAP Tutor at Bournemouth University and his main interest has always been using technology in language learning. Paul is a keen advocate of using students to help other students.

Katharina Hendrickx, Bournemouth University

Katharina Hendrickx has a BA in English and is about to start her MA in Literary Media at Bournemouth University. Katharina has been teaching German at BU for three years and is passionate to learn more about different cultures and languages.




How to Cite

Ford, N., Thackeray, C., Barnes, P. and Hendrickx, K. (2015) “Peer learning leaders: developing employability through facilitating the learning of other students”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. doi: 10.47408/jldhe.v0i0.373.